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 Articles: Raymond Cottrell on Dr. Ford
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Exegesis of Daniel

by Raymond Cottrell

Ford as a Dedicated, Loyal Seventh-day Adventist

The pioneers were mistaken, exegetically, on almost every point of their sanctuary doctrine, says Ford,132 but this in no way depreciates their sincere endeavor to understand God's Word and His purpose for them, nor the fact that God was leading them. Says Ford:

Elements of the pioneer two-apartment heavenly ministry represent swaddling clothes around the baby of truth, swaddling now to be discarded, for truth need no longer be presented in infantile form. . . . The "swaddling clothes" referred to were absolutely essential in the nineteenth century for the survival of the disappointed and bewildered remnant who remained faithful to the Miller emphasis.133

[Even] Paul could use faulty arguments to arrive at right conclusions [1 Corinthians 9:6-10; Galatians 3:16].134

We have sketched the glowing features of the child of truth entrusted to this div1nely raised movement. The fact that the child came in swaddling clothes, which at this point of maturity are no longer need[ed], is no occasion for discouragement or shame, any more than at Bethlehem long ago.135

Ford considers himself a dedicated Seventh-day Adventist, and his personal life style and conduct silently witness to that fact.136 "I write as a Seventh-day Adventist," he says, "believing wholeheartedly that God was behind the Advent movement of the nineteenth century and that he has committed to "Seventh-day Adventists not only significant but vital truths."136 He "publicly affirmed, at Glacier View, his belief in and support of the doctrines of the church. He clearly indicated his support of the consensus statement on the sanctuary and said that he would sign it if necessary. Why was this not sufficient?" he asks.137 He assures his readers of his personal belief that while the primary focus of Daniel 8:14 was not 1844 at the time the angel spoke those words, it nevertheless does point to the eschatological cleansing of the sanctuary.138 The Advent Movement is indeed a fulfillment of Daniel 8:14,139 and God did raise up this church in that year.140 In 1844 God raised up a people to preach the everlasting gospel."141

The fact that exegetically the date 1844 rests on several assumptions impossible to demonstrate does not invalidate God's raising up of a special people at that time to preach "the everlasting gospel" in the sanctuary setting of salvation and judgment.142

In the providence of God Adventists were raised up in 1844.143

Also in His providence, God led the pioneers to adopt the year-day principle.144 They were not wrong when they asserted the eschatological significance of Daniel 8:14; they were right in seeing the theme of judgment there.145 Though there are "no texts teaching an investigative judgment as we proclaim it," they do "teach a pre-Advent judgment whereby the destiny of all men is settled while Christ is still our High Priest in the sanctuary above."146

Ford's intense loyalty to the Bible as authority in matters of doctrine and his firmness with respect to the import of the passages at issue, lead him to declare that "no ecclesiastical creedal statement shall move me one whit if obviously contrary to the plain testimony of the Word of God. We can do no other."147 In support of this he quotes Ellen White: "The doctrine that God has committed to the church, the right to control the conscience, and to define and punish heresy, is one of the most deeply rooted of papal errors.148 An excellent principle, it applies with equal force to Seventh-day Adventists.

Any administrative body that attempts to behave as though now is the nineteenth century or the Middle Ages cannot hope to retain the confidence of an educated laity. On the other hand, an open and honest spirit will earn and claim that confidence.149

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